Over the last few years, one of the most prolific personal-care staples in the drugstore, Johnson's Baby Powder, has faced controversy over claims that its talc-based formula contains asbestos that may have led to cancer in thousands of women. In 2018, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.69 billion dollars to 22 women in one case, and investigations by Reuters and The New York Times uncovered internal documents that appeared to indicate that some people at the brand over the years worried of the presence of asbestos. While strongly denying any wrongdoing, and calling those reports "false and inflammatory," Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will no longer be selling talc-based baby powder in North America.
The announcement was posted to Johnson & Johnson's corporate website on Tuesday, May 19. In it, the brand states that, in response to the shifting of prioritized products during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will "permanently discontinue approximately 100 SKUs," and talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder is among them. The announcement did not name any of the other products being discontinued.
"The Company will wind down the commercialization of talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada in the coming months. Existing inventory will continue to be sold through retailers until it runs out," the announcement reads. "Cornstarch-based Johnson's Baby Powder will remain available in North America." It goes on to say that both types of baby powder will continue to be sold in other markets around the world where there is higher demand.
Allure reached out to Johnson & Johnson for comment, and a representative for the brand provided the following statement:
"We have made the decision to discontinue talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada as part of a broader portfolio assessment related to COVID-19 prioritization. Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder has been declining in North America due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising. We remain steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder. Decades of independent scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product."
The representative also directed us to the full announcement, which reiterates Johnson & Johnson's defense of its talc-based baby powder. "We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the Company in the courtroom," it reads. "All verdicts against the Company that have been through the appeals process have been overturned."
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Originally Appeared on Allure